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Education

Doubts cast over Milford Haven secondary school refurbishment

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FRESH doubts have been cast over the refurbishment of Milford Haven Secondary School.

At a meeting of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, January 21, it was announced that it could be delayed until 2024.

The school had been earmarked for refurbishment but after costs were escalated due to the building’s poor state, it has been suggested that a new-build would be needed.

Cllr Viv Stoddart said she was ‘very disappointed’ by the new information and said that Milford Haven was coming out ‘second-best’.

Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “We are doing the prep work for Milford Haven in terms of where we go.

“The 21st Century Schools budget goes up to 2024 and there is a £15m gap at the moment. So if nothing happened we would need to fund £15m. That is unaffordable.

“I have been in contact with the Welsh Government to ask if they can expand our budget of £106m upwards. The extra budget gap would be £5m and that would be affordable.

“They have said they cant do that at the moment as we are not far enough down the program.

“We are looking at the options for Milford Haven. It was down as a refurbishment but that is just not an option that is viable. It would be very poor use of money.

“This administration’s intention is to try and complete the whole of the programme.”

Cabinet member for Education, Cllr Guy Woodham added: “There was an increased figure in the refurbishment of the building. That was still less than a new build but it did close gap.

“It was almost a no-brainer to go with the new build over the refurbishment.

“Both the secondary and primary schools in Milford Haven are in Band B which runs until 2025 but we are trying very hard to ensure we deliver all projects. I remain optimistic that we should be able to deliver all Band B projects.”

Cllr Stoddart responded saying she was ‘very pessimistic’ about it adding: “It has been at least two years since we had a meeting in Milford Haven School, we’ve had the problem with the
learning resource centre. I find this information very disappointing.”

Cllr Woodham added that Haverfordwest had been the main project in Band B and that the next one on the list was Milford Haven.

Cllr Ken Rowlands said that the people in Milford should have the same sort of facilities that are on offer elsewhere in the county and that they shouldn’t be ‘short-changed’.

Education

NEU Cymru teacher members vote to accept pay offer

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73% of NEU teacher members in Wales who responded to the union’s consultation have voted to ACCEPT the pay offer put forward by the Welsh Government, and end the dispute.

The offer put forward by Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles will see an additional payment to teachers of 3% for this academic year (2022/23), made up of 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump-sum. The offer also included an increased pay rise of 5% paid from September 2023. The Minister has also confirmed that it will all be fully funded by the Welsh Government.

Speaking about the members’ decision, NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The members in Wales have made a clear decision to accept the pay offer, put forward by the Minister in a letter dated 9 March.

“We would like to thank the Welsh Government for the constructive way in which they have conducted negotiations with the union, and we look forward to a productive working relationship to ensure that the rest of the deal, focused on workload, continues to make good progress.

“Whilst this doesn’t meet our ambitions for pay restitution every part of this offer is due to our members’ efforts – and we will continue campaigning for the Governments in Cardiff and Westminster to invest properly in this generation of children and the staff who work with them.”

David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru, said: “It is clear that a large majority of our teacher members here in Wales want to accept the deal from the Minister. They were provided with full information about the offer and have given us a definitive steer.

“This has been a difficult time for everyone in education. Our members do not take decisions to go on strike lightly, but they had to make a stand given the continuing impact of austerity, cost of living and spiralling inflation. We would like to thank all the parents who supported teachers and support staff in the action taken.

“We remain disappointed that the Minister made no offer to teaching assistants, but we know that we have raised the profile of the critical issues which affect everyone in education. Our National Executive will be considering next steps in our support staff pay campaign.”

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Education

Commissioner joins students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police custody suite construction site

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner joins construction students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police Custody Suite Construction Site

As part of a national open doors to construction sites campaign, this week there is an opportunity for the public in Carmarthenshire to go on site with construction company Willmott Dixon, to see construction work going ahead on the new Dyfed-Powys Police Custody suite in Dafen, Llanelli Carmarthenshire as it nears completion.

Today, 14 March 2023, Police and Crime Commissioner was invited to attend one of the site tours with a group of construction students from nearby Coleg Sir Gar.

As part of the open doors event, members of the public are shown around a construction of approximately 4000m2 over two storeys, that includes 18 new cell custody suites, interview rooms, cells, charge desk, open plan office space and associated meeting rooms and a significant area for mechanical and electrical plant. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “This is a major investment for us which will see an ambitious, modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing.

“I am grateful for Willmott Dixon, for including the construction site on the menu of construction sites for the national Open Doors campaign this week.  I’ve worked extremely hard with partners over recent years to ensure that we get to this position, and it was great to be able to walk around the building today with a group of students from Coleg Sir Gar as it nears completion.”

The new Carmarthenshire Custody Suite, based in Dafen Llanelli, will offer a more sustainable environment, while also help protect natural resources.  Amongst some of the sustainable credentials of the new building will be a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

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Education

A unique learning experience for students from Pembrokeshire College

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LAST week staff and students from Pembrokeshire College were delighted to be able to officially open their teaching space at Folly Farm.

Designed for Level 3 Animal Management learners, this unique teaching facility exemplifies what can be achieved by educators and employers working in partnership.

Jointly funded by Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire College, the facility opened for learners just prior to lockdown back in February 2020. Overlooking the rhino enclosure, learners are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities including shadowing zookeepers and working with exotic species – opportunities made possible due to their location at the centre of a working zoo.

During the opening Chris Ebsworth, Folly Farm Managing Director, highlighted the excellent opportunities that are available to learners; not only in working directly with animals, but also in the wider field of conservation. Meanwhile, learner Georgia Pike gave her perspective on what the centre brings to learners. Being based at Folly Farm provides a truly unique learning experience, something that just wouldn’t be possible on the main College campus.

MP Simon Hart rounded off by cutting the ribbon and officially opening the centre. The opening was also attended by representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, Coleg Sir Gar, CITB and The John Burns Foundation (Burns in the Community).

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